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Miss McCay’s Mom

Sometimes you get to be a rock star without even trying….

Like when you leave the house for an hour and come home to two pups who greet you like you’ve been gone for months and there is nothing in the world they would rather do than lick your face and tell you in doggie speak how wonderful they think you are.

Or when you walk into your daughter’s fourth grade class and they treat you like royalty just because you showed up and smiled at them.

This was my experience yesterday when I became not just Jana Jarvis, but “Miss McCay’s mom”.  A completely different identity, it would seem.  Because, apparently, Miss McCay’s mom rocks. :-)

The day started with lots of smiles and shy waves.  Everyone was so well behaved (Brittany talks in such a calm, soft voice that it demands their listening ears and attention – really amazing to watch!) that they didn’t approach me when they were meant to be learning and testing.  They kept to task and were nothing bur respectful to each other and their sweet teacher.

But soon a note was discovered on Miss McCay’s desk, addressed: To:  Miss McCay and Mom  From:  Student.

Britt and I opened it to find this:

photo-12

And my heart melted all over the floor.

Moments later, the little one that wrote it was getting in line for recess and I saw her looking on the teacher’s desk to see if the note had been discovered yet.  I caught her eye and said quietly, “Thank you so much for your sweet note.  It made my day.”  She beamed.   Connection.  And I’m caught, hook, line and sinker.

As they were taking their spelling test, one of the words was thermometer.  One boy raised his hand and asked to share a comment about the word.  “Miss McCay, did you realize that the word thermometer has the word “mom” in it and your Mom is here today?”   Smile.  Eye contact.  Connection.

But this little charmer wasn’t done.  Later, while discussing vocabulary words, the word “indescribable” came up, the students gave sentences using the word and defined it in their own words, giving examples.  Several other words were discussed and then this little guy’s arm shot up again.  He asked if he could go back to the word indescribable  because he had a definition.  Miss McCay said of course he could share.  The first time he said it, we didn’t catch it, as he was looking up at the ceiling.  But when he repeated it, I blushed for the first time in forever.  “When Miss McCay’s Mom came into our class it was “indescribable” because she was so beautiful!”  This from a fourth grade boy.  Not worried about what the other kids thought.  Just putting it out there.  (Strangely and wonderfully enough, no one made fun of him for this comment.)  This kid made my day.

But this was not the end of it.  At recess, unbeknownst to Britt and me, when he should have been playing wall ball and running around with his friends, he instead went to the office and made a call to his mom.  An hour later, when they were in their dance class, this boy with the largest smile to ever grace a fourth grade face, marched up to me with this:

photo-11

I think I have an admirer…:-)

Sometimes you get to be a rock star without even trying.  Just because you’re Miss McCay’s Mom.

Thanks, Miss McCay, for one absolutely great day.  You are the best teacher ever!  You’re the real rock star here, both in my book and theirs. :-)  I couldn’t be more proud of you doing exactly what you were made and meant to do.  You are brilliant and natural at it. And once more I am in awe of the woman my baby girl has become….

 

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It All ADDs Up….

 

If you are reading this on Facebook, then you probably saw my comment about going to the doctor this afternoon regarding questions about adult ADD.

Thanks to all of you who through phone calls and private messages have offered your wisdom and experience in this area.  Your graciousness in taking the time to show your concern means so much and I value the opinions of those who know so much more about this topic than I do.

I have always joked about my having ADD (and am certain I have some level of it) but in the past couple of months it has seemed to become intrusive and making me “not feel like me”.

That being said, I went to the doctor today.  I talked with her about my concerns and the increase in my anxiety symptoms, wondering if there was a correlation between the two.

After running some blood work on me, I just got a call from the nurse, saying that my potassium levels are way too low.  Now, if you’re like me, that truly sounds like no big deal.  Except that it really is.

Hyopkalemia is what they call it.  And it’s a side effect of the blood pressure medication I take, a diuretic that wipes out the supply of potassium in the body.  Pair this with the fact that I drink primarily only gallons of water a day and you get a body depleted of the potassium needed for nerve and muscle function.  Potassium is what keeps the kidneys filtering and the heart beating.  Literally. If it gets too low, well, everything will literally stop working.  And that’s not good.

So I guess it’s a little more important than I thought.

And it would explain so many of the symptoms that I was attributing to anxiety and ADD – chest pain, dizziness, muscle twitching, palpitations, fogginess in my thinking.

My body, my heart, my mind has been starving for it’s potassium.  I’ve already been on a dose of one ginormous pill about three days a week (is what my Dr. had prescribed).  But now it’s two ginormous pills EVERY day.

So there’s a good chance I do still have some ADD tendencies and will probably always need a little help with my anxiety, but I was thankful to find that this obvious increase in symptoms had at least one source that we can address right now.

This was one of my little brave steps in my 90 day journey today.  To swallow my pride and go after some answers for my physical and mental health.

I’ve been so focused on healing my inner heart.  But today I had to do a little something for my physical one.

Thanks for your prayers and sweet support.

xoxoxoxo

 

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OW!

know

grow

show

These are all words that God is using in my life in this 90 challenge of healing.

To KNOW Him more intimately.

To GROW in areas of neglect and weakness.

To SHOW me the places that are still in need of His healing touch.

And until this morning, I didn’t realize that each of these words contains the word OW!

OW as in ouch, that hurts.

This actually makes sense to my simple mind.

The more that I come to KNOW Him, the more I am overwhelmed by the condition of my heart without Him.  As I come into an even more intimate KNOWledge of Him, I ache over the sin in me that grieves Him.

OW!

As I begin to take baby steps of GROWth, as the muscles of newfound faith begin to emerge and GROW, there is pain.  As I try new ways of thinking, of reacting, of responding I feel the GROWing pains and the stretch marks of slow progress associated with it.  Baby steps are not without tumbling, falling and failing.  Real GROWTH is defined by taking that next step after failure.

OW!

When Jesus SHOWs me those areas deep inside that need attention and healing, I want to look away, to ignore the blood and gore.  It’s not pretty.  When He gently points to and SHOWs me broken places that haven’t  healed correctly, He also offers to reset the offending “bones”, a process that essentially means re-breaking a part of me so I can be whole again.

OW!

Why would a person subject themselves to such inner turmoil?

Because there is something beautiful on the other side!!!!

The OW will turn to OH!

KNOW will become KNOH!

GROW will transform to GROH!

SHOW will morph into SHOH!

And in new moments of wonder, of aha, my heart will cry “OH!”

This is what makes each moment between here and there worth it….

James 1:4 – Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.  Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;  for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

Psalm 30:2 – O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Jeremiah 17:14 – Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

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Be Brave

Interesting, God’s timing….

Last week I got a call from a gal in Alameda who asked me to come and speak at a women’s event in October.

I’ll be honest.  With all of the craziness of the weeks ahead and the immense planning and scheduling that is coming with that (Janay is coming home for a month from Cambodia (yay!) and will be traveling around meeting her supporters, family and friends), I was more than a little tempted to say no.  No would definitely have been the easiest and most convenient answer.

But, as most of you know, I am on a 90 day adventure of heart healing with Jesus.

The easiest answers are not what He’s been calling me to lately.

To make things even more curious and almost comical, the theme of the event is Be Brave.

Are you smiling with me right now?

Because that is exactly what God has been asking of me on this journey of healing and growth.  Freedom from fear.  Walking face first into old fears, eyes wide open, with courage and the promise of His presence with every timid step of progress. Literally, Being Brave.

Taking mustard seed sized faith, itty bitty trembling belief and proactively planting it in ways and places where it can begin to grow into the massive tree that God dreams for me.

It was as if God was speaking directly through this dear woman and saying, “Will you take this next step, right in the middle of your own intense learning?  Will you share at a very real level what it looks like to take My invitation to Be Brave?  Let them see what shaky steps toward courage and trust really look like.  Don’t give them platitudes.  Give them the reality of your own current experience with Me.  Tell them of my presence in the process, of how I have held you tightly with every baby step and have challenged you to take another.  Share with them how I hold you when it’s been a hard day of learning and we just cry together for a little while. Remind them of my promises to never leave them, to always love them, that I have a plan for them. Let them know that process doesn’t always look like progress but that I am constantly at work in the heart that looks to Me for guidance and help and wisdom. Tell them that I have dreams for them that they can’t even imagine.  That with every inch toward bravery they will gain confidence in Me as they begin to see glimpses of those dreams.  You have to tell them, Jana.  You just have to.  This is our next step together.”

Needless to say, I said yes. :-)

When the timing couldn’t have seemed worse, it suddenly occurred to me that it couldn’t possibly have been any better….

Isaiah 41:10 – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Deuteronomy 31:6 – So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Jeremiah 1:8 – “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

Matthew 14:27 – But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

John 14:1 – Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 

Psalm 27:1 – The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?

Romans 8:15 – For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “”Abba,” Father.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Agony and Ecstasy

This business of growing and healing.

I don’t know.

It’s both grueling and amazing.  If I hadn’t been part of something I hate so fiercely and love so deeply I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to experience both ends of the spectrum at the same time.

Seriously.  How is that possible?

When I was a kid and my dad was the “tickle monster” with my brothers and me, we would be desperate for him to stop when our tired little laughing heads couldn’t take it any more.  “Stop, daddy, stop!”  we would call out through our laughter that was morphing into tears.  He would stop, of course.  But seconds later, without fail, each of us would cry, “Do it again!”

That’s a little how I am feeling about this healing thing…”Stop, Daddy, stop!”/”Do it again!”

The agony and the ecstasy.

There is so much to detest about it.

- It’s hard.

-It hurts.

-It requires change.

-It takes me out of my comfort zone.

-It’s never ending.

And did I mention it’s hard, it hurts, requires change, takes me out of my comfort zone and is never ending?

Sigh.

But then again, there’s so much to adore about it.

-It’s hard.  (That’s called strength-training.)

- It hurts.  (That’s called healing.)

-It requires change.  (That’s called progress.)

-It takes me out of my comfort zone.  (That’s called stretching.)

-It’s never ending.  (That’s called eternal.)

And just to be clear,  it’s hard, it hurts, requires change, takes me out of my comfort zone and is never ending.

I am becoming so much more aware of the fact that anything lasting, anything worth fighting for, is going to cost something.  Baby glimpses of growth, whiffs of sweet healing make that cost feasible, intriguing even.

It seems that every ounce of growth produces a pound of new testing, the chance to take what I’ve learned in this healing and apply it to a new circumstance.

Exhausting.

Exhilarating.

A tiny bit changed.

A big bit humbled.

A heart all the more in love with and dependent upon Jesus.

Because, like never before, I realize that I am in desperate need of the healing that only comes from His hand.  That every iota of true growth and change in me was His idea first and is only possible because He is my source of strength.

And so I will have tears. Because, dang it, it hurts!

I will have stretch marks on my soul from the pull it takes to get me out of my comfort zone.

There will be a few scars on my heart where healing is having its way with deep gouges.

My mind’s eye will probably show circles of weariness.

But I will not be the same tomorrow as I was yesterday.

And as soon as I finish crying, “Stop, Daddy, stop!”  I will smile and say, “Do it again!”…

2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

 

 

 

 

 

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Green And Quiet

When you dream of “peace” what do you see?

Precious quietness?

Rolling green hills?

Babbling brooks?

Far away places?

I love that the heart of Jesus so knows the heart of us.

He knows what our restless, weary, hungry, thirsty souls need.

David captured it so beautifully in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastureshe leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.

Mmmmmmmmm….doesn’t that sound lovely?

In the presence of our Shepherd, WE LACK NOTHING.  Just for the simple reason that HE IS WITH US.

This is the first and foremost thing that should give us peace.  We have a Shepherd that will not abandon His sheep.

In the presence of our Shepherd, we EXPERIENCE GREEN PASTURES.  Even if our present circumstances more resemble dry, brittle, dying grass.  He soothes our souls as we LIE DOWN and LEAN INTO HIM.  He offers us, His hungry sheep, sustenance and provision and the peace that comes with knowing that He knows right where we are and is right there with us.

In the presence of our Shepherd, we ENJOY QUIET WATERS.  Even if the world around us is a raging, reckless ocean of chaos. He quenches the thirst of His thirsty sheep as we let Him LEAD US to that place of REFRESHMENT, right next to His heart.

How is your soul today?  Is it long overdue for green pastures and quiet waters?  Does your heart thirst for refreshment?  Is your mind hungry for the nourishment of stillness?

Your Shepherd awaits….

Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God!”

Matthew 11:28 – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Philippians 4:7 – Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

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All In One

eggs

It’s like an egg.

That’s how it was explained to me as a kid.

The Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Three separate entities of the same unit.  Like an egg’s shell, yolk and white, every part is essential to the whole.  Each with unique characteristics.  All working together.

I was reading John 14 this morning.  Jesus is talking to His disciples about what will happen when He returns to heaven (after His death and resurrection). In verses 16-21, Jesus is telling them of the connection and interaction of the Trinity:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

He was introducing them to the Holy Spirit, who would become their new friend when Jesus went back to take His place in Heaven.  They would experience another aspect of the fullness and beautiful complexity of their intimately personal God.

It’s interesting to me that back at the beginning of the book of John, it was JESUS who was being introduced. John 1:1, 18 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning….No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”  People who “knew” God were exposed to a part of the Trinity that they had never experienced before.

And going back even further, God introduced Himself to the world in Genesis chapter one: Genesis 1:1, 26 -In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”  This is the first indication that God was in partnership with the rest of the Trinity.

We were first introduced to God the Father.

Then Jesus, the Son.

And finally, the Holy Spirit.

Like an egg…one layer exposing the next, so that we could experience God in His entirety.

It occurred to me that when Jesus said, “I am the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE” in John 14:6, He was again referencing the interactive teamwork of all three personalities.

He was the WAY.  – “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

The Holy Spirit was the TRUTH. – And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocateto help you and be with you forever –  the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16-17)

God the Father was the LIFE. – And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  (Genesis 2:7)

They were all ONE.

The mystery of the egg.  Three components combined, connected, and uniquely different.

We can’t truly know one without knowing the others, without experiencing the whole.

And like an egg, we can either sit and look at it, acknowledge it’s there, or we can crack it open, taste it, take it in.  Let its flavor and nourishment fill us, strengthen us and give us what we need to live as we were meant.

 

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Soles and Souls

Last night I watched a sweet little munchkin named Audrey.

After a trip to the park and a good stroller ride we came back to the house to wait for her mama, who is part of our 20’s and 30’s group.

The first thing Audrey wanted to do was to take off her socks and shoes and get comfy.

There is just something about baby feet that makes my heart turn inside out.

Sweet little pink-painted piggies wiggling and curling as I tickled them.  Quarter inch toes that just begged to be kissed.  Fresh little feet that are just beginning the journey of walking, both literally and figuratively.

No calluses.  No bunions or corns or any other deformities that happen after a lifetime of use.

Such a stark contrast to the feet I saw in the nursing home.  Twisted and non-functioning.  Feet that time has had its way with.  Feet that have trekked countless miles and have taken these souls (and soles) through innumerable joys and heartaches.

Life has a way of changing us, both inside and out.

And while the outer changes might show that toll, we have the incredible opportunity to allow the inner transformations to be nothing less than beautiful.

If we view each day as a fresh new encounter with God and with all He has for us to learn and experience, our insides can become more and more like Audrey’s precious little feet – beautiful, kissable, soft.  Ready for the adventure ahead.

(Which is, of course, better than the alternative of a heart hardened by calluses of bitterness.  Twisted and deformed by the happenings of life.)

While our soles might age with little grace, our souls can grow in beauty from here to eternity….

Proverbs 4:23 – Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

1 Samuel 16:7 –  The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

 

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Baby Steps

It’s interesting.

When you focus on one thing, when you narrow down the things that will occupy your attention and time and energy, the opportunities for growth and change in that area become more obvious.

This 90 day challenge has been showing me that.

Taking a deeper, more introspective look into the heart has offered more insight than I ever imagined.  Sometimes more than I even want to know about myself.  The areas of weakness have a new light shed on them.  Although this isn’t necessarily pleasant,  I am beginning to see it not as frightening or shameful, but as God’s gentle light exposing new possibilities of growth and maturity.  For everything that He is illuminating in me, He is giving me equal strength (supplied by His own loving and very involved hands) to face it head on and do something about it.  Baby steps of progress that we get to celebrate together.

With each little movement forward, my faith in His love and purpose becomes a little stronger.  He shows me the path, I put my weak, trembling hand in His and together we walk in that direction.  Never alone.  Never powerless.  Never the same again.

Don’t get me wrong.  Old habits of thinking and attitude die hard.  Reworking 50 year patterns requires being deliberate.  Every thought, action and motive is examined to see if it gets me closer to the goal of healing and growth.  Because that is God’s desire for my heart – healing and growth.  Softening to the sweet touch of His hands remolding me.

If Jesus and I are on the same page….BAM!!!!  It’s a winning combination to effect change.

Sometimes the end of the day leaves me feeling like a train wreck.  Worn out from the inner struggle of letting go of my old ways of thinking and pressing into new routines of thought.  An intense work out of of the mind and heart that leaves even my body exhausted.  But it’s a good kind of tired that leaves me to fall asleep at night with a weary smile on my face.

And you know what they say about practice….:-)

Romans 12:2 – Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

2 Corinthians 3:18 – So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Ezekiel 36:26 – “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. -

 

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Do You Ever?

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever just ask “why?”

Do the “hows” and “whats”, the “whos” and “whens”

Invade your peace of mind?

Do you ever look for answers

Where answers don’t exist?

Do the unknowns and the question marks

Leave your heart with angry fists?

Do you ever want to run away

When the path still isn’t clear?

Do doubts leave clouds that fog your soul

And morph your faith to fear?

Mortal minds want answers

Things our eyes can see

To trust in what our hands can touch

In what’s easily perceived.

But behind this veiled reality

Of the obvious we seek

Are the workings of the Great Unseen

If we only take a peek.

His ways are not like our ways

His thoughts not like our own

Imaginations cannot conceive

What He has always known.

His hands are always working

His heart the stimulus

His mind holds plans and wondrous dreams

Of a future good for us.

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever just ask why?

We doubt “Who” holds the answers

“When”, “what”, “how” in His mind’s eye?

“I know the plans I have for you,”

“Plans for future and for good.”

From His lips to trusting ears

Put our questions where they should…

Jeremiah 29:11 –  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 1 Corinthians 2:9 – That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Ephesians 3:20 – Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

 

 

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